I had my PhD Qualifying exam this morning, and I passed, sort-of. So now I get to explain to everyone who wants to congratulate me what that means.
In the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph, the PhD Qualifying examinations are newly reformatted. There are essentially two components: an oral component, a two-and-a-half-hour question-and-answer session that I had this morning, and a written component, a 5-page research program proposal in the style of a NSERC Discovery Grant. The full, real NSERC Discovery Grant is the usual funding that covers operating expenses for most science professors at Canadian Universities. It's usually a large document that includes a great diversity of forms. At its heart, the Discovery Grant is a proposal to support research over a period of five years.
This morning, the oral component went well. I was told by the examination committee that they were satisfied with my performance. Good. That's the "pass" part of "conditional pass". The "conditional" part is I now have one month to completely re-write the Discovery Grant. The committee will look at what I produce in this month, and then decide if I have managed to bring it up to the quality they want. My previous written Discovery Grant was not good enough; they were not satisfied.
So, that's what I'll be working on for the next month. I'm basically happy, but I'm not through this process yet.